Climate and its Role in the Decline of the Maya Civilization

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. Due to the unpredictability of the climate the Maya had to deal with crop loss and periods of famine, brought on by drought. Southern Maya regions, compared to northern Maya regions, received much more rainfall, and in turn suffered greater because of the dramatic climate shifts in rainfall. A journal article in American Scientist by Peterson, states that in recent years, evidence has mounted that unusual shifts in atmospheric patterns took place near the end of the Classic Maya period, lending credence to the notion that climate, and specifically drought, indeed played a hand in the decline of this ancient civilization. (2005, p.322) The Maya relied largely on the replenishment of water in their reservoirs for their water supply. Seasonal rain was vital for the Maya to maintain a sustainable water reserve. Water was their most valuable element and most crucial resource. In Global Warming Focus, “the rise and the fall of the Mayan civilization is an example of a sophisticated civilization failing to adapt successfully to climate change” (“The Collapse,” 2012, p.220), Now that the environment of the Maya has been discussed and understood, the agriculture of the Maya is another important factor in the collapse of the Classic Maya. Domesticated crops that were currently being farmed at the time were corn, chiles, squash, beans, etc. Corn was a huge part of the Maya diet for the nobles and commoners, and responded positively to human intervention (Diamond, 2011, p.163). However, agriculture limitations arose with corn, such as a short storing period, one year, little nutrients, and the farming of corn was unproductive and require large amounts of labor (Diamond, 2011, p.165). An agricultural technique that was at first pr... ... middle of paper ... ...umscribed environment, which is a limited area bounded by physical or military constraints. The valuable information that we have learned about the Maya is extraordinary, because of it we are able to appreciate what the Maya have achieved and in what ways they succeeded in their work and lives. They were an amazingly sophisticated and exceptional group of people who were dominant, and created beautiful works of art and architecture. Though the Classic Maya had a devastating collapse, the Maya people thrived on elsewhere. Their people prevailed, and moved up north to the Yucatan peninsula. Here the Maya survivors were able to restart their lives that they had lost in the southern Maya Lowlands. Chichen Itza, a city that was almost abandoned, was reinvigorated by the Maya immigrants, searching for a new home to inhabit, and a new place to continue their legacy.

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